Something like real life

By

Anika Chowdhury

Filmmaker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki is known for his unconventional style of filmmaking – not to mention the depiction of societal prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination – and his web film Something Like an Autobiography checks all these boxes, which was released on the OTT platform Chorki on 30 November, 2023. 

This film subtly mirrors the real-life story of Tisha and Farooki and marks the acting debut of director-producer Mostofa Sarwar Farooki. The film revolves around Tithi and Farhan, a filmmaker-actor couple played by Nusrat Imrose Tisha and Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, facing criticism and trolls, both from the public as well as within the family, for not conforming to societal expectations dictated by the conservative patriarchal society. 

Besides Tisha and Farooki, the film features popular showbiz names, including Iresh Zaker, Monowar Hossain Dipjol, Dolly Zahoor, and Sharaf Ahmed Jibon. 

The plot unfolds with a nuanced exploration of vulnerability as it traverses the intricacies of human relationships, the challenges faced by couples, and the anxieties of potential parenthood. Tithi’s dialogue in the opening scene, where she was paragliding and talking to Farhan, sums up the inherent desire of a free-thinking individual – a desire reflected throughout the film: “In her life, she asked not for money or fame, but only for two wings.”  

The movie delves into the complexities of familial relationships, societal expectations, and the sacrifices inherent in the journey of becoming parents and brilliantly explores the vulnerability that accompanies parenthood. 

Beginning as a family and social drama, Something Like an Autobiography seamlessly transforms into a suspenseful exploration of societal norms, only to circle back to its dramatic roots. 

What is most commendable is how this film addresses social issues such as societal pressure on couples to have children, the restrictions imposed on individuals for expressing views on social media, and how heartless and intrusive people can be when it comes to a child’s skin color – all these features are enough to keep the audience engaged, and highlight Farooki’s prowess as a story-teller.  

Nusrat Imrose Tisha delivers a standout performance, bringing Tithi to life with a captivating blend of vulnerability and strength. Her portrayal captures the essence of a woman challenging societal norms, refusing to succumb to the pressures of a patriarchal society. Tisha’s ability to convey the emotional complexities of her character is admirable, making Tithi a relatable and inspiring protagonist.

Compared to his wife, Farooki’s acting somehow appears flat as the emotional subtleties required to convey the psychological complexities of Farhan fall short. We are left wanting more, as Farooki’s portrayal lacks depth and authenticity – his delivery often comes across as wooden and stilted.

Tithi’s character, in particular, becomes a symbol of the emotional rollercoaster that prospective parents ride. The fear, anticipation, and overwhelming love are palpable, resonating with contemporary audiences regardless of cultural or geographical background. 

Though Farooki’s acting skills seem to have a limited range, his directorial prowess is on full display, with each frame meticulously composed like a work of art. The visual aesthetics serve as a narrative tool, reflecting the character’s inner turmoil. The cinematography and sound, led by Tahsin Rahman and Ripon Nath, capture the essence of the plot in its glory.

While the central characters, Tithi and Farhan, are well-fleshed-out and impeccably portrayed, some supporting characters, Dipjol and Sharaf Ahmed Jibon, could have benefited from more detailed development. Certain relationships and conflicts, especially those outside the main narrative, feel underexplored, leaving the audience craving a deeper understanding of the broader dynamics at play.

Above all, the societal reflections and parental sacrifices shown in Something Like an Autobiography evoke a profound sense of introspection. Farooki weaves a tapestry of relatable life events, creating a narrative that is both compelling and thought-provoking. The transitions between different thematic elements are executed with finesse, adding layers to the storyline and ensuring the audience remains interested throughout.

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